Agitation breeds an atmosphere of social and economic chaos and uncertainty. The end of it leads to a measure of equilibrium and expectancy. The Centre's clearance of the proposal to set up a Telangana, independent of the former state of Andhra Pradesh, has contributed to the hope that the development spread will now be with respect to the long-standing demands and aspirations of the people of the two regions whose administrative lines will soon be redrawn.
CW speaks to a cross-section of people, including consultants, heads of infrastructure firms, entrepreneurs and urban planners, to derive an understanding of what lies in store for the new divisions on the development front.
Karuna Gopal, President, Foundation for Futuristic Cities
"It is a great opportunity to build small, well-planned cities "ground up' in Telangana. These mint-fresh cities can be planned along railroad and other transportation corridors for better connectivity, trade and development. I see great potential in the Andhra region as well, for transit-oriented development. A miniature industrial corridor on the lines of DMIC passing through the coastal districts of the Andhra region can revitalise the entire region. Smaller cities can be built along the corridor by drawing from each district's unique resources. There is a scope to develop intelligent communities, build social capital and brand these cities internationally. Also, if the division takes place, Seemandhra will be the child with special needs. Currently, there is gross inequity in revenues generated from both these regions. Thanks to Hyderabad, Telangana's revenue is around 62 per cent (around 55 per cent coming from Hyderabad), while Andhra's revenue is 18 per cent. Economic assets like power, water, social and other infrastructure are inequitably distributed."
Vijay A Deshmukh, Chief General Manager (AM), Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation
"There is huge scope to develop infrastructure projects in Telangana. There is also an opportunity for infrastructure players from other states to enter this market. Telangana already has good infrastructure for industrial purposes, which can be developed further. Infrastructure players are only waiting for the final go-ahead; once the state is formed, industry players will come down and expand their business operations. Hyderabad is already a developed city, hence, both states will want to retain this place. However, the separation will not affect Andhra Pradesh much as it has other developed cities like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, etc, that can be developed into capital cities."
Gautam Chand Jain, Chairman & Managing Director, Pokarna Ltd
"Consistency in policy and stability in government will be the two main investment drivers for both states. Andhra Pradesh has some of the most pragmatic mining laws as compared to other states. Therefore, both these states will implement the progressive laws that they already have. In fact, once there is stability, and the same policy is continued, both states will grow. Although both Andhra and Telangana have granite deposits, the latter will miss out on the advantage of sea ports. Road transportation might also be an issue. The separation of these states will bring about political stability. Also, as far as the separation is concerned, only government policy will affect us. Physical separation is not really going to affect us. Telangana is underdeveloped, while Andhra is more of an agricultural hub, but with a coastline advantage. Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada are two main cities with potential for growth."
Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & Managing Director, CBRE
"The new areas will develop over a period of 15 years-it is a long-term process. The immediate area of potential is Hyderabad. It has the maximum growth opportunity with positives like decent infrastructure and manpower already in place. Moreover, with real estate costs being relatively lower there, the city will see potential investment. With many of the country's infrastructure companies based out of Hyderabad and a new state being formed, a huge amount of money will be invested into infrastructure. It will remain the main magnet of all investor opportunity. In a way, there is a benefit of having a smaller state as it is more manageableûin India, the experiment has been a mixed bag-but it still depends on the policies of the government. What is positive about this separation is that the uncertainty will go and I think that will be a big plus point. Uncertainty is a deterrent for investment. Once that is all cleared, and authority and policymakers are appointed, it will encourage companies to come into the state."
I Chandrashekar Rao, Project Research Analyst & Consultant, Nawa Engineers & Consultants (P) Ltd
"Hyderabad is currently the revenue model for Andhra Pradesh. However, under current circumstances, nobody would be interested in investing in an industry in Telangana as it is totally a landlocked state. Besides, all the mineral resources in Telangana are already exploited. Further, the amount of infrastructural investment that is required, before Telangana's electricity can be made independent, is going to take quite a few years to generate. It has to pay out Rs 5,000 crore in electricity dues itself, which the state cannot do. Most of the revenue has to come out of Hyderabad. Moreover, neglected investments have been seen on the Seemandra side all these years. There are unexploited infrastructure opportunities there. Seemandhra's 1,000-km coastline has been rated amongst the 10 best investment zones in the world because it has a lot of gas level issues and coal deposits. Power, industries, gas, agriculture and ports have tremendous scope for development. Telangana will be handicapped in that aspect. The whole state has been divided on the basis of emotion while it should have been divided on the basis of quantification of economic parameters. Without quantified and confirmed boost of investments, both states will have to struggle for a number of years."
M Goutham Reddy, Executive Director, Ramky Group
"In Telangana, there will not be any new infrastructure opportunities but the real scope of development lies in Andhra Pradesh, where a new capital will be formed. Depending on the new capital city, new infrastructure developments will take place. There will only be a positive impact in terms of infrastructure for both these states as new urban infrastructure is built. However, it will take 10 to15 years to develop a new city with good infrastructure. Telangana will not have any issue because Hyderabad is part of it. There will be zero difference from the current situation."